“The association bargaining team made the decision to accept the district’s Option No. 2 proposal” contingent on further negotiations, said Jessica Sabol, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania State Education Association.
Negotiations for the transportation staff have been spearheaded by PMESPA. The negotiation team, however, does not have final say - the entire bargaining unit of PMESPA does and will have final say when a vote is taken to its membership,
PMSD bus drivers and support staff have been working without a contract since July 1, 2019 after the school board voted to outsource the transportation department in April of 2019.
The PMSD and the union have continued to negotiate in good faith in an attempt to keep the transportation in-house.
According to Wendy Frable, Public Relations for Pocono Mountain School District, PMSD has proposed, since May 2019, a way of keeping transportation in-house through a combination of salary freezes and benefit reductions that are calculated to save approximately $4 million per year.
“Not only has the union not accepted that proposal, but it has not made any other counteroffer that produces savings that approximate what the PMSD would save through contracting out transportation services or implementing the salary freeze and benefit reductions.” Frable said in a written statement to the Pocono Record Tuesday.
This second proposal would outsource the transportation department to First Student while giving the remaining members of the support staff a five-year contract and pay increases.
Frable insists that contracting out will save approximately $4.3 million each year over the course of the contract with First Student.
“Eventually, it is a decision for the rank and file members of the association to either accept or reject the proposal presented to them,” said Sabol. “For clarification, it is PSEA’s opinion that the parties are not at legal impasse.”
“It’s time to move negotiations forward toward achieving a new support staff contract that is affordable for the taxpayers,” said Frable.